… but I’m making progress. This book is 20 chapters long plus a tiny epilogue, and I have thus far edited 12 of those chapters. The next four weeks are busy, but I’ve set myself a schedule, and so far I’m on track for the manuscript drop to TZPP towards the end of December.
What I’ve learnt is that it’s hard to retrofit a book. I just don’t write the same way now as I did back then. Consequently when I re-read the couple of things I wrote before I developed my current writing style, something inside me dies a little. Alright, a lot. Talking massive necrosis and haemorrhage, here. My firm belief now is that if you’re going to be published, you’ve gotta go and get that book sold within the first couple of months so that you don’t have time to write something big and new in the meantime. ‘Cos big new things = another shift in how you write = more disappointment when you have to edit early stuff again. Damn the world for not conforming to my wishes :D.
It’s interesting (for me) to watch the progression of my writing style. When I first started writing, I used adjectives and adverbs far too liberally. No verb could go unadorned; no noun could stand on its own. All rather embarrassing, really. The first edit of this book, which I did back in July (??) last year, let me trim out 30k words. Even so, this time around, there were still lots of places where I felt my description was forced. Hitting people over the head with a hammer. Or at least a giant pillow stuffed full of chicken feathers. So the rewrite this time is, again, quite massive *gurgle*.
So how am I fixing my description problems? Um… by adding more description. I’ve cut out heaps of stuff, yet I’ve managed to up the word count by about 2k. *Ducks bucket-load of rotten tomatoes.* I know, I know. But here’s the thing. I’d like to think that when I describe now, I do so more effectively. I lump my adjectives together rather than spreading them out after every other word. I use imagery in clumps. I’m sure I still go overboard at times; hopefully my editor Danielle and TZPP will have a bit to say about that and reign me in. Does this new style work? I don’t know–that will be up to you readers to decide. I do know that the few people who have read my more recent stuff have indicated the writing is not too bad. Hopefully I can carry that through to Reticulum.
Someone once told me that Darkness Falls was ‘lean’, but Reticulum was ‘skeletal’. The reason is that after my first big draft of Reticulum, I cut out everything. One of my beta readers told me that I spent too long describing little things like wardrobes, so I chopped out almost all description. If the character wasn’t doing or thinking it, out it went. You ended up having no sense of the characters’ surroundings. I think that may have been to the book’s detriment, so I’m slowly added a bit back in. Hopefully not too much–just enough that you know what the characters think of the buildings they’re in and the outside they’re visiting. We’ll see if I’ve got the balance right.
I guess for me, the world isn’t so important. I’m not a world-building sort of person. I like to focus on my characters’ inner musings, instead. That world they make for themselves inside their mind. I suspect that means a lot of people will consider my books slow… oh well. So be it. Hopefully there will be a few of you who will understand what I’m trying to create and enjoy it. And learn to love my characters as I do. Because let me tell you–they’re certainly alive in my head.